Student Newsletters

Current Student Newsletter – Michaelmas 2023

Following a successful year, Michaelmas 2023 built strong foundations for the year ahead. It kicked off with a sunny weekend of taster sails enjoyed by all. Team racing trials was filled with high calibre racing with the team already tasting success at various events across the country.

We are looking forward to a busy Lent term, with more casual outings, an RYA course and team racing events all in the pipeline. Next year promises to be as exciting as ever and we hope to see you on the water soon.

Team Racing
The 2023-24 season has begun in proper and we are once again happy to be able to field 3 competitive teams. As usual, the academic year started with Generations, the alumni event organised by OCSS. This was great fun as always, despite the little wind to begin with, although it was dissapointing to see the trophy go to an oxford team this year. The sailing was followed by a curry, in an unusual break from tradition from the standard black tie dinner. 

Following the excitement of Freshers’ Fairs and Taster Weekend, it was then time for Trials. It was a very competitive year, with over 40 people signing up for the 24 spaces on the squad. With many new fast freshers, and plenty of training, it has been a great term for the club.

The Second Team (Purple), and the Third Team (Pink) went up to Birmingham for their first event, where Purple took the win, and Pink came an extremely respectable 5th, especially considering it was many of their first team racing event. This marks the third year in a row that the Brummy Boom has been won by Cambridge!

The second event for the squad this term was the Oxford Magnum, another event sadly plagued by lack of wind, and sadly no racing was able to go ahead on the Sunday. Blue and Purple had a lot of tough races on the Saturday, and would have enjoyed a day of fun races in Bronze fleet on Sunday, but possibly enjoyed the early home-time more. 

With 5 days of pre-season training to start off next term, everyone is enjoying a well deserved break before getting stuck into BUSA, Uni, and National events in Lent.

The Brummie Boom Winning team

Casual Sailing
At the start of term we held our Mega Weekend, where about 40 people were able to try sailing with the club, thanks to many of our members who volunteered to help out. This weekend was a huge success and quite a few people joined the club and joined us again on our 2 casual sailing outings of the term. These outings presented us with a range of conditions, with times where you could see your reflection in the water and other times with 25 knot gusts. It was great to see people working together, practicing sailing and having lots of fun on these days. Next term we look forward to our RYA Level 1 course and more casual sailing outings. 

Student Newsletter Archive

Easter 2023

The Easter sunshine brought plenty of sailing and windsurfing across CUCrC, with multiple casual sailing and windsurfing outings accompanying a more laid-back period for team racing. The term rounded off with the barbecue and relaxed racing of the inter-college cuppers championship and varsity matches in both sailing and windsurfing. The club is thriving, with activity across all sections the best seen in years, so we look forward excitedly to another successful year for the club in 2023/24. 

Team Racing
Team racing in Easter Term is much quieter due to exams, but we still had three big events, Varsity, Cuppers and the Wilson Trophy. Team Red attended the Wilson Trophy and after 3 days of racing with some epic wins as well as big defeats to some of the American team they placed 21st overall. This made them 4th university team and best 2nd team at the event an amazing testament to the ability of this team.

During May Week we hosted Cuppers at Grafham. This was highly successful, with a great breeze and even some sun making for high quality racing and high quality spectating. As always, the highlight was being able to share the BBQ and Pimms with such a wide range of teams, with some who’d never team raced (or even sailed…) before and other colleges such as Caius which had two teams made up of CUCrC sailors. Despite a non-negligible number of sailors on some of the lower seeded teams not making it to the coach for 10am due to May Balls, a full schedule of racing took place and Robinson College ended up winning the Gold league.

Photo: Robinson College: winners of Cuppers 2023: Juliette Kennedy, Gordon Sivarajan, Olly Perkins, Matty Cohen


The Varsity Match was held at Island Sailing Club in Cowes and we raced in Sonars. The first day was match racing, which the 1st team helmed by Juliette Kennedy ended up winning, though the 2nd team unfortunately lost. On the second day the team racing started, which ended up being a bit of a disaster for both the ladies and open teams, both losing 3 races in a row, meaning Oxford only had to win one more race in each competition to take the trophy home. However, the second day became more exciting for Cambridge, with the open team winning their first two races quite considerably, swiftly followed by a convincing win from the ladies teams. The next race disappointingly became the final race for the ladies, who despite being ahead for most the race, ended up losing their winning combination at the last minute. The next race in the open team again resulted in a Cambridge win, leaving it all down to the final race, which we were winning with a secure 123 combination. Devastatingly, as is perhaps to be expected with mile long runs, Oxford began to gain throughout the downwind, eventually catching up and then gaining a winning combination on the final beat, leading them to cross the finish line ahead. Despite the sadness of losing both the open and ladies team races, the event ended on a high, concluding with a black tie dinner with Oxford at the Island Sailing Club.

Photo: Cambridge at the sailing Varsity match 2023.

Windsurfing
Easter term was an overall success for the windsurfing section! We organised the first windsurfing varsity with Oxford for 5 years, winning 4-1 with a strong performance in the light conditions. We are keen to ensure this fixture continues for the next few years! This term also saw a renewal of the women’s windsurfing half blue status which was up for review, an impressive and surprising feat considering the recent struggles with training and racing. We also had windsurfing cuppers this term, and James Morris at St John’s was declared the winner with a very impressive light wind waterstart. Although windsurfing will always struggle with a regular commitment, next year we aim to send a small team to BUCS and some SWA events, alongside organising the next windsurfing varsity!

Casual Sailing

Easter term rounded off a very exciting year for the CUCrC Dinghy Section. We held our first RYA level 2 course for quite a few years, another 3 sailing outings, and 4 extra trips to Grafham were organised by members to take advantage of the excellent sailing weather we’ve had this term.
We held an RYA level 2 sailing course for those wanting to further develop their sailing skills. It was really pleasing to see people from each of the level 1 courses we held in Lent, Michaelmas and even Easter last year returning for more sailing. The first day had good weather although we could’ve done with a bit more wind, and the second day was very rainy at times but we pushed through, even having a couple of short races at the end of the second day – the final race was very competitive with all 3 boats across the start line within 9 seconds, an excellent standard for what was for most only their 2nd day sailing a firefly!
The most exciting development this term has been the increasing levels of self-coordination of the dinghy section – in addition to our 3 organised outings there have been 4 unofficial outings organised by suitably experienced members. On one such post exams trip with some of the level 2 course attendees we were blessed with that magical combination of hot weather and plenty of wind, and by lunchtime when the club racers finished we had the space to blast up and down almost the entire lake. This trip had a successful lunch afloat, followed by 2nd lunch in the café. A few late capsizes dampened our clothes but not our spirits, and it was the best way to bring a year of recreational dinghy sailing at Cambridge to a close.

Lent 2023

What a term! Lent has proved to be one of the most successful for CUCrC in years, with racing victories and BUCS medals across the board, major events successfully hosted by Cambridge, an active casual program, and a rejuvenated windsurfing section on top. To emphasise the scale of the recent successes, CUCrC has now won national BUCS medals in all eligible championships this year. Tim Hire won fleet racing gold in November, a match racing entry helmed by Juliette Kennedy earned bronze in March, and finally to cap it all off, a gold medal was won for Cambridge Blue in BUCS team racing on home waters at Grafham, where we hosted the team racing finals, in the easter holidays.

In addition, the club has just received its new set of fireflies, and is adding to its beginner windsurfing equipment, both aiming to improve the quality of sailing and windsurfing for current and future generations of CUCrC members.

The club has shone these last few months, and while the racing sections take a well-deserved break, we look forward to an easter term with a full casual sailing and windsurfing programme, capped off in May week with the fun of barbeques and inter-college racing at cuppers in May Week..

Team Racing
This term has been an exceptionally successful term for CUCrC, which culminated in victory for Cambridge Blue at the BUCS team racing national championships and 5th for Cambridge Red, meaning Cambridge have the best 1st and 2nd teams in the UK. 

Before term even started, the ladies team competed in the RYA/ BUSA Women’s Team Racing Championships and managed to start the year by coming 2nd overall, a huge testament to the ability of the ladies on our team.

We then did 5 days of preseason, working on our windy boat handling and starts, which would become essential for BUSA.

Next, in January Cambridge Blue took part in the Wessex Winter Warmer. After Saturday was cancelled due to lack of wind, Cambridge had a tricky draw on Sunday seeing us sail (and lose to) 5 of the top 6 teams at the event, though we managed to finish 11th overall, beating all the unis we sailed against. 

Qualies was the next event, with Cambridge taking three teams, with impressive results from all three teams. Cambridge Yellow came a respectable 8th, qualifying for BUSA playoffs, Red came 2nd, beaten only by Blue. 

Other events included the Oxford Top Gun, where Blue came 2nd, losing to UCD in the finals and some members of Red competing in the Exeter Excalibur. 

We hosted both the Cam Cup and the BUSA Finals at Grafham, getting in fantastic racing and two black tie dinners, with the Finals’ dinner being at St John’s.

CUCrC returned to match racing with considerable success. The team displayed strong performances at RYA WMR1 (1st and 2nd uni teams), RYA Women’s Match Racing National Championships (4th and 8th), and achieved 3rd place in BUCS Match Racing Championships. 

The BUSA finals itself was very windy, with about half the racing time cancelled, however this didn’t stop Red from being incredibly successful in the Swiss league, beating Exeter 1s, Southampton 1s and Cambridge Blue in their races against them. Cambridge Blue initially had less success, finishing 8th in the Swiss league, only just qualifying for quarter finals. In the quarter finals, results changed, with Red being narrowly beaten by Oxford in a nail-biting 3 races, finishing 5th overall. Blue were up against Exeter, who were winning the swiss league, however just managed to beat them in 2 of the 3 races. In the semis races were even closer, with a place in the finals being decided by which team could spin faster on the finish line. In the finals itself, Blue was against UCD, an Irish team, so they technically couldn’t win the university nationals (BUCS). Unfortunately, despite Blue being 2:1 up, they ended up losing 2:3 to UCD, placing 2nd overall and 1st BUCS team.

In all, we trained or raced for up to 32 days this term, which surely contributed to our term’s success. 

For the first time since the pandemic, Michaelmas 2022 promised to be a term relatively unaffected by covid. As such we were keen to storm back into a full schedule on the water. The schedule was easy, and we kicked the year off with a very successful megaweekend of taster sessions in almost ideal sailing conditions, before term ran began in earnest with a full programme of successful team racing, casual outings and RYA courses.

The water proved more of a concern, as the particularly dry summer led to Grafham being a lot less wet than we’ve come to expect. This didn’t deter us, and after a couple of months of wading for what felt like miles through thick mud to launch our boards and boats the rain has finally come, and the water levels are rising. With the blessing of a lake full of water, we look forward to next term, which promises to be as exciting again, and has plenty of wind-based joy to look forward to across all sections of the club.

Team Racing
Sailing has got off to an exciting start this year, with 3 super competitive teams. We started the year with generations, where the sailors who matriculated in 2019 made it to the semis. Everyone considered it an extremely fun event, made particularly enjoyable by a few mishaps, including a spectacular backwards dive by one of the crews, clearly so fed up of helming in the crew’s race they ejected themselves from the boat as they crossed the finish line.

This was followed by an extremely competitive trials, where we had over 40 new sailors signing up. A concern had been that, after many of our female sailors had graduated, we’d be struggling to maintain a good gender balance, but we were especially pleased that we had 9 female and 2 male freshers join the team. Training has been successful, with only 1 hour missed due to poor weather. We’ve been particularly focusing on starting, resulting in Red (the seconds) having potentially the best starts on the circuit.

 Red’s starting prowess was demonstrated at the first event, the Brummie Boom, where they won every race. Similar success was seen by Yellow (the thirds), who came a very respectable 5th, a great achievement for a team which was the first team racing event helming or crewing for all of them. The following week was the Oxford Magnum, where the series on day 2 wasn’t quite complete, so the standings were Cambridge Red in 8th and Cambridge Blue in 10th, where we sailed against some extremely competitive alumni teams.

The Brew was a resounding success for both teams, with Blue winning the event (with help from Tom Hebbert and subs from Red and Yellow as some sailors were away on the Varsity ski trip). The second team, which was patched together with sailors from Red, Yellow and Beige (the fourth team) managed to place very respectably.

We’re excited to start next year with 5 days of pre-season training, lots of events and more training. Hopefully, with this training having the best first, second and third uni team on the circuit will be possible, though a very difficult target.

The Brummie Boom Winning team

The Successful Bristol Brew Team

Casual Sailing
We started the term with the very successful sailing tasters mega weekend, where 46 people had their first time sailing with CUCrC, and for many of them it was their first time in a boat. The winds were excellent and people had a great time. We then saw quite a few of them back at one of our 3 recreational sailing days this term, or on our level 1 course which ran over a weekend towards the end of term. We’ve had a range of people of different experience levels coming along for recreational sailing, and it’s especially good to see people who haven’t sailed in quite a few years picking the sport back up again at Cambridge. We had 5 people attend and pass the level 1 course, who experienced a very wide range of wind conditions over the 2 days, but made excellent progress from complete beginners on Saturday morning to being able to sail a fun and closely fought race on Sunday afternoon.

 We can’t wait for even more sailing next term, and look to have both a level 1 and level 2 courses taking place, a couple of (hopefully windy) outings for more experienced sailors as well as plenty of general outings as well.

Details of all the above events are on our website.

Best wishes
Karl Aeberli
Senior Secretary CUCrC

September 2022

It’s been a great year for CUCrC, with the post-COVID return of team racing and student windsurfing events, as well as significant team racing successes at BUSA Finals and Women’s Nationals. After the hard work of training and racing in Michaelmas and Lent, a sunny Easter term brought plenty of fun with the return of the Wilson Trophy and Sailing & Windsurfing Cuppers, as well as a well-received RYA beginner’s course. Rounding out the year, the Varsity Match was held at Royal Harwich Yacht Club in Ajaxes – the first time it has taken place in keelboats since 2019. Although the Women’s and Match Racing Matches saw dark blue victories, Cambridge triumphed in the Open Match, making this the tenth Open Varsity victory in a row.

Team Racing

 Easter term started with BUSA. We sent three teams to the first official championships since 2019, and enjoyed three full days of racing at Chew Valley Lake SC – organised by Bristol.  Having only qualified last minute, team Orange finished 25th, the best BUCS result for a CUCrC 3rd team since 2017! Pink (2nds) recovered from a difficult first day but narrowly missed out on the quarter finals. Blue finished the Swiss League in 4th, but after a series of abandoned races due to major wind shifts lost their quarter final.

BUSA marked the end of regular training for the team before exams. However, we sent two teams to the Wilson Trophy at West Kirby Sailing Club. Three days of exciting racing and the infamous dinner later, Blue finished 27th overall and 5th British University team.

Events for the year were wrapped up by the Varsity Match at Royal Harwich Yacht Club in July. Oxford retained the women’s title after a series of close races, but we successfully won the mixed match in a back and forth series. After we took a 3-1 lead on day 1, Oxford forced a decider by winning the next two races, but after a rollercoaster of a race with multiple lead changes we pulled through to retain the trophy for the 10th year in a row. A successful end to a year of variable results, and it was great to have a ‘proper’ Varsity match after two years of COVID affected matches. After a lot of team members had graduated at the end of last year, most of the team are staying on this year, and hopefully this continuity will allow the team to build on the progress this year under the leadership of our new captain, Olly! 

Cuppers 

Team racing and windsurfing cuppers returned in style to Grafham on Tuesday 21 June 2022. Although wind was in short supply, general fun and the lunchtime BBQ were as good as ever. Congratulations to Paul McMeekin, Ollie Dennis, and their team for organising a great event. And many thanks to Grafham Water SC for suffering the annual invasion once again and providing the necessary facilities.

In the team racing Caius proved victorious, taking the Yule Oldham Cup. A Caius / St Catharines team headed the Silver League and a Jesus team won the Bronze League.

In the windsurfing event Fitzwilliam headed the fleet to take the Brindley Cup, with St Johns winning the Silver League.

Casual Dinghy Sailing 

The Dinghy section made good use of the easter term sunshine, running a casual outing early in the term and then a very successful RYA Level 1 course after the end of most exams. All who completed the Level 1 passed, and handled a variety of wind conditions, from complete drifting conditions to some champagne sailing. We look forward to running more courses in Michaelmas, and can’t wait for another exciting year of casual outings and courses, getting as many people on the water as possible.

Details of all the above events are on this website.

Best wishes
Karl Aeberli
Senior Secretary CUCrC


March 2022

It’s been another busy term for the Club, with team racing successes, dinghy outings, and lots of windsurfing trips – plus another successful edition of the Cam Cup! We are especially proud of our Women’s team racing team, who battled through Storm Eunice to claim their second BUSA Women’s title in a row. The Mixed teams also performed well at the BUSA Finals with Cambridge Blue finishing 7th overall.

Elsewhere in the Club, plans for the Windsurfing Varsity are shaping up nicely, and sunnier weather should give lots of chances for casual trips next term. There’s a lot to look forward to over the next few months: the Wilson Trophy, sailing and windsurfing Cuppers, and our various Varsity matches – plus, of course, the promise of warm summer weather!

Team Racing

Last term was another busy one for the team. All three teams competed in lots of events, and despite some disruption due to team members having to isolate with COVID, all three teams qualified for BUSA finals. In March we hosted the Cam Cup. The event was a huge success, with two fantastic days of racing and a black tie dinner on the Saturday night. Overall, a successful and enjoyable return to lent term sailing for the team after lockdowns last year.

Windsurfing and Kiteboarding

Lent term continued to contain excitement on the windsurfing and kitesurfing side, with trips to Hunstanton and Brancaster, as well as regular trips for beginner and intermediate windsurfers at Grafham. We sent three athletes to the SWA Southhampton event, and even had fun at a few bar crawl socials. Although we are saddened that between the Oxford team and us, we couldn’t make up the numbers for a Fuertaventura trip, we are hoping the summer months put us back on the water as we look forward to Varsity, cuppers, and new kit.

Casual Sailing

Despite the ever-present interruptions from covid and hurricane-force winds, the dinghy section managed to find some breaks in the weather for its trips earlier in the term, where despite the cold we managed to get out and enjoy some sunshine in our fireflies. Looking ahead to next term, we’re hoping for even more champagne-sailing and are excited about several planned outings and even a May Week level one course.

Keen to start up the casual section for the first time since the pandemic began, the term opened with four successful taster sessions in a variety of conditions ranging from drifting to champagne sailing, where 45 people tried sailing, almost all for the first time. In spite of many windy weekends, two other casual outings were arranged later in term, getting as many people as possible out on the water.

Details of all the above events are on this website.

Best wishes
Karl Aeberli
Senior Secretary CUCrC


December 2021

It’s been great to see CUCrC’s activities mostly back to normal this year, with a new intake of freshers on the team and a full set of successful taster sessions running at Grafham during Freshers’ Week. The team racers have been to a number of events this term, including the rescheduled 2021 Varsity match, at which the Mixed team triumphed.

The Windsurfing side are also back and better than ever, with multiple beginner sessions, casual trips, and a number of members attending Aussie Kiss (one of the biggest student windsurfing events of the year!). We look forward to a Lent term full of sailing & windsurfing events, beginner courses, and more great weather at Grafham.

Team Racing

This term began with the Varsity Match: held at Farmoor in Fireflies in early October. While we narrowly lost the women’s match 4-2 the team won the mixed match 4-3. This year the event was run alongside the O&CSS Intergenerational event, which was a great chance to meet some previous members of the team.

The new season began with trials, from which 4 teams were selected. This year the 4th team is working a bit differently, it is a larger squad of sailors who rotate depending on availability, providing a route into the team for people who can’t commit to every weekend or who are new to team racing.

The top 3 teams all competed at a number of events including UKTRA, the Leeds Halloween Howler, and the Bristol Brew. The best result of the term was the Birmingham Boom, where team Purple and Orange braved the snow to finish 1st and 3rd respectively.

All in all a successful term for the team racing section of the club. Lent brings lots of events for all the teams, and hopefully we can carry forward the progress from this term to them!

Windsurfing and Kiteboarding

The Windsurfing and new Kiteboarding section of the club started off the year strong, sending over 30 surfers to the SWA Windsurfing festival, Aussie Kiss. Every single attendee came away with new skills, whether it was their first water start, gybe, or rig flip.

Throughout the term we were on the water at Grafham almost every week, running a series of completely packed beginner sessions at weekends, where club members with their instructor qualifications taught newbies how to wobble about on a windsurfer, and sending more experienced surfers down to the lake whenever the wind picked up. Meanwhile, our experienced kiters visited Hunstanton on several occasions to test their skills against the swell and the sky.

Casual Sailing

Keen to start up the casual section for the first time since the pandemic began, the term opened with four successful taster sessions in a variety of conditions ranging from drifting to champagne sailing, where 45 people tried sailing, almost all for the first time. In spite of many windy weekends, two other casual outings were arranged later in term, getting as many people as possible out on the water.

Details of all the above events are on this website.

Best wishes
Karl Aeberli
Senior Secretary CUCrC


August 2021

After many months, sailing finally took the first steps to a (new?) normality. Our team racers resumed training at Grafham which resulted in an excellent BUSA performance! It is hoped that, with the easing of restrictions, the upcoming Freshers Fair will lead to a significant number of new members.

Team Racing

The team racers have had an unconventional season with training and most events being cancelled due to Covid. However, with the easing of restrictions, the summer term saw a long-awaited return to Grafham with weekly trips being run. This training was tested during both the Women’s BUSA Finals at Rutland and the Mixed BUSA Finals at Spinnaker. The Women’s team was triumphant, finishing top university and capturing the BUSA crown for the first time since 2013.
The Mixed BUSA Finals also saw four Cambridge teams take to the water. After three beautiful days of racing, the teams finished 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th – a testament to both the depth and resolve of the squad. Both the training untaken and results achieved leave the squad in an awesome position going into the 2021/22 season.
The varsity match was unfortunately postponed at the last minute due to Covid fears. It is hoped that this will now take place in early Autumn.

Cuppers

After two blank years (calms in 2019 and COVID-19 in 2020) a very successful 2021 Cuppers event for both sailors and windsurfers was run at Grafham on 22 June. Trinity triumphed in windsurfing, with Fitzwilliam taking the Silver Fleet trophy. A joint Caius-Hughes Hall team were victorious in the team racing, with a joint Clare-Trinity team taking the Silver Fleet trophy.

Best wishes
Karl Aeberli
Senior Secretary CUCrC 


December 2020

A Mixed Term

The pandemic has resulted in the suspension of any sailing activities which could not conform to the COVID-19 regulations. This meant that the taster weekend and casual sailing activities – with the exception of windsurfing – were not possible. At present there is little chance of improvement until – hopefully – the Easter term. So let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Team Racing

The much-postponed Varsity Match was held at Farmoor in September. Cambridge won the Open Event 8-3 and Oxford the Women’s Event 4-1. It made for good racing with excellent conditions – albeit a bit different to the regular match. Despite COVID-19, the team racers have made a successful start to the season.

Trials were held over the first two weekends of term, and 14 new members joined the squad. We were able to undertake a few weekends of training before the November lockdown, where four very promising teams appear to be developing!

Surfing

Although unable to run organised activities, many individuals from the windsurfing section have made great use of our inherently socially-distanced sport, with numerous successful trips to Grafham and occasionally to the sea at Hunstanton. The atmosphere is relaxed and all skill levels are welcome.

Match Racing & Other Events

In October last year’s captain Robbie King and his mainly Cambridge crew took the bronze medal in a tough UK Match Racing Final. This followed Robbie’s victory at the 2020 Youth Match Racing Final in September.

Details of all the events mentioned are to be found on this website.

Best wishes,
Karl Aeberli
Senior Secretary CUCrC